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SRQ DAILY Jan 6, 2018

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[GCBX]  Addressing Labor Shortages in 2018
Mary Dougherty

It’s that time of year when people are reflecting on the past and making resolutions for change in the future. In Sarasota County, as we move forward into 2018, we have a lot to look forward to, including a continued strong economy. A robust economy equals more jobs and a thriving and sustained quality of life in our region. As the executive director of the Gulf Coast Builders Exchange, I am humbled by and proud of the many ways our organizations have helped further these goals year after year since inception.

In 1952, a small group formed an organization to serve the needs of local contractors. That small group quickly grew into a larger organization, and in 2018, the Gulf Coast Builders Exchange will continue its mission and a recurring resolution to address the needs of our members and this amazing community.

Throughout 2017, our Sarasota County lawmakers made progress in many significant areas, such as the Unified Development Code and Land Development Regulations. The Gulf Coast Builders Exchange members will continue to assist on these critical construction-industry topics. While there has been progress, there are also problems that we must address. One of those problems is the persistent labor shortage in the construction industry.

According to a new analysis by the Associated General Contractors of America, construction employment increased by 30,000 jobs in December to the highest level since September 2008. Florida alone added 35,800 construction jobs between August 2016 and August 2017.

As construction projects rise, we will see an increase in prices and jobs may be delayed, hindering progress if this labor shortage continues. With this shortage, firms cannot bid on certain jobs simply because they do not have the manpower. Finding a solution to this is an ongoing goal for us in 2018.

In 2017, the Gulf Coast Builders Exchange hosted the first Construction Rodeo, where GCBX members hired more than 15 students from that event alone. On March 20, we will hold our second to teach graduating seniors who are not college bound about construction-related career opportunities. 

In fact, 75 percent of construction firms plan to expand their payrolls in 2018, said the AGC, but more than half of those firms are having difficulty filling their hourly craft and salaried openings.

In order to truly address this issue, we must acknowledge the elephant in the room. A lack of affordable housing is a major barrier to overcoming the labor shortage. Unfortunately, in this area, we continually take two steps forward and three steps back. This multifaceted problem will need a multifaceted approach. It’s one that our area has been struggling with for some time, it’s not a problem that we can solve overnight, but it is a problem we must solve. 

We have some of the best and brightest minds here in Sarasota, and if anyone can solve this issue, it will be done here. The Gulf Coast Builders Exchange is committed to collaborating on this issue and listening to various ideas on how to tackle it.

On Feb. 1, our members will gather to discuss important topics like this at our 66th Annual Installation and Award Dinner. Guests will hear from Keynote Speaker Jimmy Patronis, Chief Financial Officer of Florida, on the financial health of Florida. After all, Sarasota and Manatee Counties’ financial health is intertwined with the financial condition of the State of Florida.

We look forward to serving the members of GCBX and the community and are committed to a collaborative approach to resolve the pressing issues facing the construction industry and the community and to finding creative solutions for our most pressing challenges now and for years to come.

Mary Dougherty is executive director of the Gulf Coast Builders Exchange. 

[Education]  The School Choice is Yours
Jennifer Vigne, jvigne@edfoundationsrq.org

Decisions. We are fortunate to live in a community where we have a multitude of choices—where to eat, shop, play or live just to name a few. Sarasota County is lauded for its beaches, its arts and culture, and its A-rated school district. It’s the collective strength—each on their own merit individually—that makes our community so special.

When trying to decide where to eat with such a vibrant restaurant scene, we may consider several factors such as the ethnic cuisine, atmosphere or location. If we’re looking to shop, we may consider quality, price or variety of items available. You get the point—one size doesn’t fit all. We each have our own needs, wants and desires, which make each one of us uniquely and wonderfully made.

As it pertains to schooling, choice is just as important. Like trying on a pair of shoes for a proper fit, students and parents should similarly seek a school that is a good fit. The most prevalent option that is often discussed is private versus public. Yet that should not be the metric of comparison or the center of the discussion. Each and every school in our community should be evaluated on its own merit and how it may align with your family values, your child’s strengths and interests.

It is no accident that Sarasota County public schools is one of only two A-rated school districts in the state of Florida since 2003 when the rating system went into effect. With 52 schools and more than 2,500 teachers, we are incredibly fortunate to have a multitude of choice in our public schools alone, and it is important to understand the uniqueness of each of these schools to determine the right fit. Leadership, culture, programmatic themes, extracurricular activities and course offerings are essential factors to consider.

You may already know that Pine View School (grades 2-12) is rated as the top high school in Florida according to US News & World Report or that Booker High School Principal Dr. Rachel Shelley is Florida’s Principal of the Year. But do you also know that Sarasota High School has a MaST (Math Science and Technology) Research Institute that requires highly motivated students to complete in-depth research projects; Booker High School has a highly regarded VPA (Visual Performing Arts) program that includes instruction in dance, digital design, music, theatre and visual art; Riverview High School has its own planetarium; Venice High has an IB (International Baccalaureate) program and executive internship program; North Port High has its own VPA program along with drafting labs, industrial culinary arts kitchen and an indoor/outdoor café; and Suncoast Polytechnical High School offers the only Game/Art and Animation program in the country? And, those are just a few highlights from our highly rated high schools. Our middle schools offer just as many options.

Sarasota County Schools is hosting a 2-day Middle School and High School Showcase on Jan. 16 and 17. I encourage you to attend. It’s an excellent opportunity to meet with school leadership and staff, ask questions, gain information and learn more about the varied public middle and high schools in one evening. Tuesday, Jan. 16, the showcase will be held 5:30-7pm at Suncoast Technical College in North Port, and Wednesday’s event will take place the same time at Suncoast Technical College in Sarasota. More information can be found at www.sarasotacountyschools.net.

Fit is important. As much time as we take to select the right restaurant, store or pair of shoes, so too we should make informed decisions about our child’s schooling. We’re fortunate to live in a special community with amazing public schools providing us an incredible menu from which to choose. School choice is available and the choice is yours.

Jennifer Vigne is president of the Education Foundation of Sarasota County. 



[Best Of SRQ Local]  Cast Your Vote For Best Local Yoga Studio!

Drop and give me Zen! There are so many places in town to escape your everyday stresses for an hour of yoga. Share who you believe is the Best Yoga Studio in SRQ in the 2018 Best of SRQ Local Reader’s Competition.  

Vote Here!

[SCOOP]  Curing, Caring & The Arts

The Roskamp Institute and 530 Burns Gallery invite you to attend Curing, Caring & The Arts- A Series on Brain Health, Healthy Aging, and Arts Integrations that runs January 10 through January 13 featuring speakers from The Roskamp Institute who will discuss current research, clinical studies, and brain wellness healthy aging tips as well as corresponding artists sharing their experiences related to Alzheimer’s and other disorders. Each speaker is paired with an artist who shares a connection to our mission through various arts-integrations & mediums. During this time, 530 Burns will be DONATING 10% of all proceeds to The Roskamp Institute. All attendees will also be registered in a drawing to win a piece of jewelry upon registration. The events are free but please RSVP for the session (or sessions) you wish to attend by calling (941) 552-9832.  

Roskamp Institute

[SCOOP]  Shivoo Havana Fashion Show

Get your SHIVOO on and come enjoy a boisterous celebration at the Shivoo Havana Fashion Show hosted by the Sarasota Garden Club at the Hyatt Regency Ballroom. This energetic occasion features a raffle silent auction, live Cuban music and a photo flower wall. The raffle prize includes a gardening tour for two in sunny Cuba. 

Sarasota Garden Club

[SCOOP ]  Clean and Clear New Year

The holidays are a time of plenty, with gift giving and generosity enhancing the warmth of the season. For many, however, “plenty” can turn into “too much,” as existing clutter is exacerbated by holiday shopping and the influx of presents from friends and loved ones. To encourage a clutter-free 2018, Goodwill Manasota presents Clean and Clear New Year, a contest to assist those who may have felt overwhelmed by the events of the past year. Community members are invited to write, describing challenges they've experienced: perhaps they needed to downsize, got divorced, or suffered the loss of a loved one. The winner will receive a $50 gift card to Goodwill and a one-hour in-home consultation with local professional organizer Charlotte Stewart of Organizing Homes LLC, during which they will get tips on clearing clutter and strategies for organizing their home. Winner must live in the Sarasota/Manatee area. To participate, community members should submit a paragraph and photo to foundation@gimi.org or to the organization’s Facebook page (facebook.com/GoodwillManasota). Deadline for submissions is January 19, 2018. 

Goodwill Manasota

[SCOOP ]  Flowers in the Factory

Begining February 11, Selby Gardens will transform into a floral playground inspired by Andy Warhol with their exhibit Warhol: Flowers in the Factory. The gardens will showcase six original artworks by Warhol that feature flowers, along with other materials. Selby will be sharing many details in the coming weeks about this exciting exhibition that offers a new perspective on the “Pope of Pop” and explores how the natural world influenced this artist who is more often associated with cityscapes and celebrities. 

Marie Selby Botanical Gardens

[SCOOP ]  Janet K. Ginn Named President Of Pines Of Sarasota Foundation

After a national search, the Pines of Sarasota Foundation Board of Trustees has named Janet K. Ginn, CFRE, as the organization’s new President. Ginn joined the Foundation as Director of Development in 2016 and has been serving as Interim President since August 2017. Ginn has spent more than 30 years inspiring and assisting individuals to meet their charitable desires and has lead in every area of development as well as serving as President and CEO of multimillion dollar organizations. Her career has allowed her to assist individuals in 32 countries and the 50 United States as a guardian of philanthropy. She has a professional history of building relationships and meeting the family, financial and social needs of donors while building organizational sustainability. Ginn is a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE), Rotarian and Paul Harris Fellow and a graduate of the Strategic Perspectives in Nonprofit Management Course at Harvard Business School. Pines Foundation Board Co-Chair Eddie Morton said, “We are confident we have found the best person to lead Pines of Sarasota Foundation. Janet’s abundant experience, passion for our mission and commitment to helping our donors is unparalleled. We are grateful to Janet for all she has done since joining the Foundation and we are excited for the future.” 

Pines of Sarasota

SRQ Media Group

SRQ DAILY is produced by SRQ | The Magazine. Note: The views and opinions expressed in the Saturday Perspectives Edition and in the Letters department of SRQ DAILY are those of the author(s) and do not imply endorsement by SRQ Media. Senior Editor Jacob Ogles edits the Saturday Perspective Edition, Letters and Guest Contributor columns.In the CocoTele department, SRQ DAILY is providing excerpts from news releases as a public service. Reference to any specific product or entity does not constitute an endorsement or recommendation by SRQ DAILY. The views expressed by individuals are their own and their appearance in this section does not imply an endorsement of them or any entity they represent. For rates on SRQ DAILY banner advertising and sponsored content opportunities, please contact Ashley Ryan Cannon at 941-365-7702 x211 or via email

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